Just Wad it Up and Start Over

New beginnings are a necessary part of life. I remember doing my math homework and running across a difficult problem. I'd work on it and work on it and finally, in sheer disgust, wad up the paper and throw it in the vicinity of the trash basket. Then I'd get a new page and start all over again.

Traditionally, January first is the time we take to re-examine how things are and make resolutions to make them better-to start over again. It's like a new page, so to speak, one that is uncluttered and where there is room for new purposes and fresh plans. And I suppose all of us like the idea of being able to start over again.

Forgiveness of sins is the best of all possible new beginnings. Can you imagine what life would be like if we have to carry around the baggage of all the mistakes, all the misjudgments, all the immoral things we have done in the past? The sheer weight of the guilt would be imposing, if not impossible to bear. The angelic annunciation stated that "He shall save His people from their sins" (Mt 1:21). That's the best of all new beginnings.

So maybe it would be the best of a new beginning to start with a fervent, personal prayer for forgiveness. That's what I'm going to do. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" we are told (1 Jn 1:9 ). That's about as good a way to begin the new year as I can think of.

I have put together some other resolutions, fitted for the refrigerator door or the mirror in the bathroom, in the hope that they will help us be better servants of His in the new year.

I am resolved to get closer to God, to make a special effort to read and study His word and put it to work in my life.

I am resolved to put first things first, to put my relationship to God first in my life and then arrange everything else in its proper order.

I am resolved to make plans each morning to do some deed of kindness that day, then to look for an opportunity to make my resolution a reality.

I am resolved to keep my role-whatever it is-in perspective and to perform the obligations it calls for with diligence and concern. I will try and be a better father, mother, son or daughter, brother or sister, employee or employer.

I am resolved to be confident about who I am-a Christian. I will not be ashamed and I will look for opportunities to tell someone about Jesus.

I am resolved to take at least 10 minutes each day and be with God-to dismiss all the cares and problems of my life and be thankful, to ask Him for His help and forgiveness, and praise Him for His blessings.

I am resolved to learn the value of the short prayer, to stop and pray several times a day and thereby let God be a part of all that I do, no matter the size or significance of the project.

I am resolved to look for good things in people, to respect the common folks, to give something to the less fortunate, to notice those who have little or no recognition.

I am resolved to budget my time so that God's cause is part of them. I will not allow anything to crowd out the time I have decided to give.

I am resolved to say "I love you" more and mean it.

I hope these suggestions will be a beginning place for a new beginning for you. I want to do better, don't you?

By Dee Bowman

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